Last year, I had the pleasure of interviewing Shaquille O’Neal in New York City for the release of his new clothing line with JCPenney. He was as funny, kind and generally awesome as you’d hope he would be. Earlier this month, he showed that kindness to 13 year old Zach Keith, a basketball playing Georgia teen whose Mom couldn’t afford to buy him sneakers that fit his size 18 feet.
According to CBS Atlanta Affiliate WGCL, Shaq heard Keith’s story and wanted to help out. The TV station worked with Shaq to surprise him at Friedman’s Shoes, a store that has been outfitting pro athletes and people with big feet since 1929. In fact, Friedman’s had helped Shaq find shoes in his size when it was difficult for him to find them. Keith ended up with 10 pairs of shoes in a variety of styles, courtesy of Shaq.
Keith’s situation reminded Shaq of the difficulties he had finding shoes that fit when he was a kid. “Mom couldn’t afford shoes. The kid had big feet. And I kind of reminisced about how that used to be me, my mom and my dad.”
The two shopped and practiced some basketball moves together. Keith was surprised by the whole experience. “I’m like, ‘whoa, he wants to buy me shoes, out of all people?'”